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Monthly Archives: December 2006

Saddam Hussein:  §

Unfortunate, naive victim of American self-interest. This link doesn’t tell the half of it. More here.

okay…  §

500ml of Beefeater and 96 oz. of Chasing Tail later I’m still sitting here posting banal shit. What does it take to join the circus anymore?

Melodrama…  §

…is what you get when you spend your whole life trying to go it alone, survive more or less, then try to talk about it. My circle of friends has always been small and my successes (and failures) have always been big, as have my habits. Apart from sensing that there’s always room to drop life by yet another octave in order to simulate testosterone more deeply, I have few social or truly creative impulses, and this leads to a state of affairs in which those who know me best don’t believe the extent to which they are truly my best (and only) friends.

And as a converse, they don’t understand the extent to which my vexation must have developed in order for me to cut them off. I do wish people would actually hear what I say and, in a similar vein, let themselves trust both my intentions and the future.

I am tired of talking to others and tired of talking to myself, but I am also tired of silence.

In a strangely ironic and compelling twist  §

I have just seen my favorite episode of Northern Exposure, “Nothing’s Perfect,” for the first time in probably six years, give or take. It’s on the fourth season DVD. And, in an episode about the impermanence of life and the way in which the passage of time, human agency, and the systematic universe leave us powerless to preserve those things that we most love, they have changed the ending.

Only slightly, it’s true.

But it’s different. I don’t quite know what to do with this new ending, other than to think that the fact of the change is strangely in keeping with the crux of the script.

Bizarre moments… love them or hate them, they do tend to occur periodically.

I don’t know what I’d do if I were to see Je— today. I don’t know what I’d say to her. I might try to pretend I hadn’t seen her at all. Why? Why should it be so? I don’t get it.

Moments lost are soon forgotten  §

I can’t remember what I’ve done for the new year for the last n+1 years. Apparently it’s not a big holiday for me. I don’t know that I’ve ever done anything really great for the holiday, like say, being in the midst of an urban mob with a significant other screaming at the top of my lungs. My timing was never that good. I’ve done my share of hitting the hooch and passing out too early in a fit of depression, naturally.

Regrets can fill your life really, really quickly if you’re not careful. Regrets and little post-it notes with question marks on them—they ask you about all the decisions that excised something (or someone) from your life, or that excised the possibility of something (or someone) from your life.

And your failures. The question marks are also there to ask what might have happened had you routinely studied that extra hour, saved that money instead of spending it, not cocked up in all of the ways that you routinely cock up.

But nothing’s perfect.

Nothing’s perfect.

All of the people that I love and have loved: I wish I could see some way to make it work, because I’m lonely and it’s very sad to be lonely after having not been. I don’t understand how people break up. I really don’t. I don’t understand how people that love each other at a deep level can fail to chart a comfortable, common path through quotidia. I just know that ends happen—a lot—even after you’ve been together for years.

But you just can’t reconcile the loss that you feel in retrospect with the tension and trouble that you felt at that moment in your life. Time is not a multidimensional thing; it is ultimately only what happened… that happened.

Not novel or deep. But at least honest, tonight. I’m sad about J— and J— and L— and L— and E— and so on and so on. People lost to me, at least in one way or another. Companionship lost to me.

Okay, I’m wallowing, I’ll admit. I’ll go and watch a DVD.

wee hours after xmas  §

Sometimes it seems to me as if most people in the world as I’ve experienced it are lacking a certain generosity of spirit. I don’t know what the core reason for such smallness is, but I know that it makes me miss my grandparents. They were not small people.

Twilight zone  §

So. Xmas day 2006. Years pass, don’t they? And now we’re in the twilight zone between the de facto end of the year (today) and the actual end of the year (31 December). It’s a strange reflexive, actuely conscious moment during which you’re supposed to examine things and think about things and reflect and blah, blah.

So I’ll reflect. What occurs to me is that I build bridges and burn bridges at a generally remarkable rate. Also that I don’t live like most people. What’s different this year (or maybe the last couple of years) is that these facts have lost the sense of urgency that used to be associated with them and have instead been colored by a kind of reluctant self-acceptance. This is who I am.

“Who I am.”

Of course, that’s a meaningless, culturebound phrase, emblematic of the west, of individualism, of the marketplace and a management ethos concerned with instrumental categorization. What about “who I was” or “where I came from” or “where I’m going” or “how I feel?”

I feel as though things will be more or less similar to this, from here on out. They haven’t functionally changed in eight years. I don’t see why they should start now. And, frankly, I’m not doing much to change them. Why bother? Of all alternatives, this is the one that bothers me least.

“This is the best of all possible worlds,” goes the phrase, I believe.

Pour me another.

  §

After thinking about it, I think for next semester the anger / I don’t need no stinkin’ friends approach will be best: everyone will just get to kiss my crass while I try to make them eat dust.

thoughts after a first semester  §

I submitted the last of my papers for the term last night. I’m frustrated because I know I can do better. Yes, they’re papers and no, I don’t think they’ll get me thrown out of the school necessarily, but one always hates the feeling that one has sold oneself short.

The problem is that my life has been so crowded this semester, and full of lots of pressure to socialize as well, some self-imposed, some imposed by others. It’s tough to move to a new town and get acclimatized to a new job. Everything just sort of conspired to suck away my time and suddenly at the end I was left in a mad week-long scramble to finish papers (while still putting in days at the office) and try to prepare to go back to SLC for the holidays.

Really I’m not sure I have it in me to do the “full time grad school and part time work and move to a new town all at once” thing. I sort of have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach about a lot of things, like I let everything and everyone down—school fell short, work hasn’t been getting enough of my attention and is annoyed with me, friends feel as though I haven’t been available, and finances are weak.

I feel like I’ve been trying to spin plates, but they’re starting to fall and break. It’s a really disconcerting—and eye-opening—feeling.

Top things that might go some way toward rectifying the problem:

– Move closer to school in coming semesters to eliminate commute
– Put in a lot of hours at work early in the semester to pile up cash
– Be more organized (i.e. rational, in the sociological sense) about socializing
– Be better at saying “no” to people and not giving in when they harp on
– Start writing papers the moment the semester starts
– Recreate better—not just “going out” with people, but time for myself
– Figure out a food system in this kitchenless place that won’t run me $20/day
– Develop an even harder, more determined, more aggressive ass

The most important thing is probably the living arrangements. It sort of makes me sad because I like this neighborhood a lot and I like the building a lot, but I can’t live in I-House next year. I am just too far away from everything that’s my life right now. Work, school, and the consortium (NYU and Cooper Union) are all in or near the Village… yet here I am in Morningside Heights. And without a kitchen, which means that I have to eat out all the time, which is costing me a fortune. And without much space, which means I can’t really study well at home.

It’s just not functional.

writer vs. editor  §

Editors often see dense prose as an exercise in vanity on the part of the writer. Having been both, I know that this isn’t always the case. It may not be that the writer is simply in love with “the sound of their own voice,” as it were. Instead, it may be that the writer is in love with the thought that they are attempting to convey. Unwilling to lose any of the complexity, depth, or nuance that they are so busy enjoying, the writer polishes the prose meticulously into a state so dense that it is nearly unapproachable. Given the topography of any truly lovely thought, how could it be otherwise?

The editor’s regrettable but necessary job is to be the totalitarian petty bureaucrat—to water the prose down, to lose most of the nuance and nearly all of the complexity, so that there is no chance (and therefore, ultimately no need) for the reader to attempt to digest the entire landscape of the idea as the writer visualized it. In the end the reader is left with a merely adequate nugget—the largest body of information he or she was really prepared to approach in the first place, if the editor’s judgment is sound.

Okay…  §

I am at school.

The clock . is . ticking . . .

I have two papers to finish and very little time to finish them. Why am I not working? Why am I unable to work?

I have got to find a deeper personal life. I need the emotional involvement—more emotional support than a bunch of drinking buddies and fellow students can muster.

angels and insects  §

“A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. This storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.”

                                        -Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History

The problem with the “like a moth to flame” trope is that as it is commonly used it presumes the annihilation of the moth by flame to be an event detrimental to the moth and thus (from that perspective) a circumstance to be avoided at all costs. In actuality, it is at the moment of consumption that the moth unites with its god in order to transcend an aimless and unleverageable existence. The moth that enters the flame achieves salvation. We should all be so lucky (yet of course we are not).

Exhaustion  §

I am so . fucking . exhausted

I am emotionally exhausted, physically exhausted, financially exhausted, intellectually exhausted… The bottom of the barrel is being scraped on all counts.

I will not make it to 50, I think.

Drama and shit and wanting something  §

As a single person, there are nights when you’re fine, and nights when you’re so alone it makes every inch of you, body and soul, cry out in distress and unbearable, solitary sadness.

Tonight I am very, very alone.

A curse on everyone. Just everyone. A pox on all their houses. On all your houses, all you humans. You and all of your uncaring kind should be euthanized to make way for the rats and cockroaches.

Always  §

seize opportunity. Always. Even if you will probably fuck it up or you’re not sure (yet) whether you want it. Because later the moment will be gone. This is, it’s true, a fundamentally American attitude, and there is something that may be a little bit unethical about it (hard to say). But I’m an American and it’s the best bit of advice I have for myself or anyone else at the moment.

Iraq